When conservatives talk about ‘freedom,’ it’s very different from when I talk about ‘freedom.’ I think, fundamentally, conservatives are talking about the freedom to subjugate, while I mean freedom from subjegation.
I think this is also why the term ‘liberal’ is used in the modern sense (at least in America) to denote the left, while originally, it designated capitalist opposition to a monarch. Conservatives, originally, protected the idea of a monarch.
With regards to monarchy, the usage of the two terms, along with the idea of freedom, start to make more sense. A conservative idea of freedom is the freedom of the monarch: freedom to be as authoritative as that monarch desires, because hierarchy and authority are necessary for order and morality.
Naturally, equality conflicts with this type of freedom; without the opportunity to force others to bend to your will, you can’t institute order onto this scary, chaotic, competitive world. Only the king, or the aristocracy, or the CEO, or the capitalists elite can be free in their actions–the masses must be subjects of that authority.
‘Liberal’ pretty much means freedom, and I’m using it here to differentiate with “conservative freedom.” Liberal freedom depends on equality. If we are to be free from subjugation, then we must give up our opportunity to subjugate others. The ‘free’ part is where we can associate with others and work with them without fearing them or their intentions.
So next time you hear a conservative ranting about how social equality infringes on their freedom, realize they are defending a right to exploit and to ruin, without consent.